Three young men arrested in connection with a massive overnight vandalism spree in Anchorage on Wednesday allegedly told police they decided to drive around and smash car windows with a baseball bat "for fun," according to a charging document in the case.
The episode involved at least 50 vehicles that police said were randomly targeted in five Anchorage neighborhoods early Wednesday morning, with the damage ranging from broken mirrors to smashed windshields and windows.
A suspect vehicle description from a 911 caller led to the arrests of Elijah Dutton, 19, Evan Young, 20, and a 17-year-old, police said. The three have each been charged with 25 felony counts of criminal mischief in connection with more than $26,500 in damage to vehicles in the Fairview area, according to police and the charges.
Police were continuing to investigate and said additional charges could come. With the scope of the vandalism, it is suspected that more people were involved, said Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro.
The events began unfolding just before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, when police dispatchers received multiple reports from callers about the sound of breaking glass and vehicle windows broken at homes in the Meadow Street area off of Brayton Drive south of Dowling Road in South Anchorage, Castro said.
Police arrived and found around 20 vehicles in the area with smashed windows, Castro said.
About 90 minutes later, someone called police to report sounds of breaking glass around 17th Avenue and Karluk Street in the Fairview neighborhood near downtown. The caller also gave police a detailed description of a vehicle that appeared to be involved, as well as a license plate number.
Police eventually identified a total of 25 vehicles in the area of Medfra and Karluk streets in Fairview with smashed windows, Castro said.
Reports of other vandalized vehicles came in from the area of Crescent Drive south of East 36th Avenue; the area of Sundown Court near the Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center in South Anchorage; and the 1400 block of East 27th Avenue in the Rogers Park area. Damage ranged from side mirrors being broken off to all of a vehicle's windows being smashed, Castro said.
Around 2:50 a.m., police located a vehicle that matched the description given by the caller in Fairview: a dirty silver 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, the charges say. The truck was driving south on Lake Otis Parkway and turned west onto Northern Lights Boulevard, without stopping for a red light.
The truck accelerated, and police pursued at 65 miles per hour. The chase ended on Commerce Street in Midtown, and police directed the driver of the truck to a stop on 36th Avenue.
Dutton was identified as the driver, according to the charges. Young was sitting in the front, the charges say, and the 17-year-old was in the rear seat.
During questioning, Young told police that he was "just driving around with his friends," and that they were coming from the 15th Avenue area, the charges say.
He allegedly told police that their driving that night was "fast driving."
"He explained, while laughing, that teenagers get 'amped up' sometimes," the charges say.
The 17-year-old told police that they had been driving around for a couple of hours, and that he had seen people driving around hitting cars with baseball bats.
"However, while looking at Dutton, he admitted they had hit some cars as well," in the area of north-east Fairview, the charges say.
Police then recovered an aluminum baseball bat tucked under the 17-year-old's seat, according to the charges. It had glass embedded in it, and there were shards of broken glass on Young's sweatshirt and on the floorboard beneath him, the charges say.
Dutton at first denied there were any bats in the vehicle, but said the trio had smoked marijuana earlier that night, the charges say.
When police asked about the glass-embedded bat, Dutton "admitted they were out driving around and began vandalizing cars for fun," the charges say.
"He said he got the idea from some of his friends, and described damaging vehicles that night in the area of Fairview, Lake Otis and Northern Lights and near Old Seward and Walmart," the charges say.
Dutton and Young were arraigned Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the 25 felony counts of criminal mischief, Dutton has been charged with one count of reckless driving, a misdemeanor. He and Young are both being held in the Anchorage jail.
The juvenile was taken to McLaughlin Youth Center, Castro said.
Police are still investigating the incident, and Dutton, Young and the 17-year-old may face additional charges. Other people are also suspected to be involved because of the geographic range of the vandalism, Castro said.
Anyone with information on the incidents can call police at 786-8900 or, to stay anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 561-STOP or submit a tip online www.anchoragecrimestoppers.com.
Reach Devin Kelly at email@example.com or 257-4314.
By DEVIN KELLY